Giuseppe Signori among 16 arrested in Italian match-fixing scandal
Former Italy striker Giuseppe Signori was one of 16 people arrested for alleged match-fixing in a coordinated police operation on Wednesday.
Giuseppe Signori among 16 arrested in latest Italian match-fixing scandal
Accused: Former Lazio captain Giuseppe Signori, one of 16 people arrested for alleged match-fixing, leaves the police offices in Bologna.
Police in towns and cities across Italy, including Rome, Turin, Naples, Bologna, Ancona, Cremona and Ferrara, issued detention orders for Signori, a former team-mate of Paul Gascoigne at Lazio in the 1990s, and 15 other people.
Among those targeted were former Serie A players and present players, from both Serie B and Serie C, as well as club directors from the lower leagues, all suspected of being part of an organisation that rigged games to fix bets.
Magistrates in Cremona issued seven arrest warrants and nine orders for detention under house arrest, of which Signori’s was one of the latter. It is the second match-fixing scandal facing Italian football in five years.
Signori, a member of the Italy squad who lost the 1994 World Cup final against Brazil in Pasadena, is the highest-profile figure associated with the investigation, having forged a reputation as one of Italy’s leading goalscorers for more than a decade.
The investigation was triggered by an incident in a match between Cremonese and Paganese in the Lega Pro third division last November when several Cremonese players were allegedly fed sedatives before the match and at half-time, before going on to win.
Eighteen matches are under investigation, including Inter Milan’s 1-0 Serie A victory over Lecce at the San Siro this season.
Matches involving Siena and Atalanta, both promoted from Serie B this season, are also under the microscope.
The arrests have led to the scandal being dubbed Calcioscommesse – Italian for football betting – with the situation prompting comparisons with the infamous Calciopoli match-fixing affair of 2006, in which teams asked for specific referees, known to be friendly towards them, for their matches.
Juventus were relegated and stripped of two titles while AC Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Reggina were penalised with point deductions.
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, who suffered relegation with the club following the Calciopoli scandal, admitted the image of Italian football faces being damaged again.
“It doesn’t do any good for the image of football or footballers and there will be disappointment and anger if it’s proved true,” Chiellini said.
“Quite apart from the money, those who work in football are lucky and to ruin everything for this is a bit stupid. It is a tempestuous reawakening, but before we jump to conclusions, we need to wait and find out more.”
Guido Salvini, chief investigator in the operation, said a suspected organised crime ring had tried to rig a substantial number of matches, as many as five at a time, in Italy’s second division and the lower Lega Pro league over the past season.
Bets of as much as €150,000 — possibly money laundered by criminal organisations — were placed on the outcomes.
Salvini said: “The activities of the association are ongoing and having an effect on the end of the season in various [unfinished] leagues with serious consequences for the clubs, for punters and for the fairness of sporting competition.
“There is a risk that some results in various competitions have already been fixed.
“You only need to consider that Atalanta and Siena were recently promoted to Serie A and they’re two of the clubs being investigated.”
The investigation comes just a month after revelations in The Daily Telegraph of Fifa concerns over the threat of global match-fixing.
Source: The Daily Telegraph